Zero Tolerance

by Patricia Goldsmith

Even though the Bush administration is now in full spin-and-smear mode, the truly striking thing about their languorous response to Katrina is how little they disguised their lack of concern for residents of the Gulf Coast. That picture of Bush playing the guitar in San Diego during the magic 72-hour window of opportunity for saving lives just doesn't compute as a lapse in judgment. This administration is nothing if not media- and image-conscious. They do not lose control of the visual. Their slow-walking of aid to Louisiana, the continuing focus on law and order over search and rescue, the alternately stern -- "zero tolerance for lawlessness" -- and forgetful attitudes toward people who were literally dying for want of help: all this was right out in the open. As far as I'm concerned, it reads like a warning. What it says is we are entering a new phase in this rightwing takeover, a phase that is marked, appropriately enough, by a new, glitzier approach to the anniversary of 9/11. While the Bushitters have been shameless in their exploitation of this catastrophe from the first, this year they finally busted out with a real celebration in the form of the so-called Freedom March, culminating in a performance by Clint Black, who sang his pro-war anthem, "I raq and roll." The march's stated purpose is to support our troops, but the obvious intention is to reinforce the false, discredited, and disavowed link between 9/11 and the war in Iraq. What we really need is a Truth March. Wouldn't it be great if we saw a march designed to show the truth about what's been going on?



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September 2005

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